Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra

by Helen M. Johnson | 1931 | 742,503 words

This page describes Sermon on enlightenment which is the sixteenth part of chapter III of the English translation of the Vimalanatha-caritra, contained within the “Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Caritra”: a massive Jain narrative relgious text composed by Hemacandra in the 12th century. Vimalanatha in jainism is one of the 63 illustrious beings or worthy persons.

Part 16: Sermon on enlightenment

After this hymn of praise, Śakra, Upendra, and Bala became silent, and Vimala Svāmin began a brilliant sermon.

“The state of being a movable soul or an animal is produced from the immovable state[1] with difficulty by a creature’s merit which has the form of involuntary destruction of karma.[2] A human birth, an Āryan country, good family, sharpness of all the senses, and (long)-life are attained with difficulty because of slight karma. Though faith, a teacher, and desire to hear have been attained by merit, the jewel of enlightenment, which has the form of confidence in the Principles, is very hard to get. To be a

king or cakrabhṛt or an Indra is not hard to attain; but enlightenment by the teaching of the Jinas is very hard to attain. All the states[3] have been attained formerly by all souls endless times; enlightenment certainly has not been attained because of the sight of wandering through births. When infinite modifications of matter ‘of all creatures of whose time in material existence less than half remains have taken place here, when the remainder of all karmas has a duration within a crore of crores (of sāgaras), some gain the best enlightenment by splitting the knot of karma.[4] Others, though having reached the border of the knot by means of the yathāpravṛttikaraṇa,[5] stop there and wander through another birth.

Listening to evil teachings, association with wrong-believers, wrong knowledge from memory, practice of negligence—these are enemies of enlightenment. liven though the acquisition of right-conduct is said to be difficult, nevertheless it bears fruit in the attainment of enlightenment. Otherwise, it is fruitless. Even souls incapable of emancipation who have attained right-conduct are born up to (and including) the Graiveyakas. Without enlightenment they do not attain emancipation. If the jewel of enlightenment has not been attained, a Cakravartin is like a poor man. A poor man who has attained the jewel of enlightenment is superior to him. Souls who have attained enlightenment are not attached to any birth. Free from self-interest they attain only the road to emancipation, unhindered.”

After hearing the Lord’s sermon people in general became mendicants, Svayambhū adopted right-belief and Śīrabhṛt laymanship. The Lord completed his sermon at the end of the first division of the day. Then in the same way the chief of the gaṇabhṛts, Mandara, delivered one. He finished his sermon at the end of the second division of the day. Śakra, Upendra, Bhadra, and others went to their respective abodes.

Then Vimala Svāmin wandered from that place through cities, villages, mines, towns accessible both by land and sea, et cetera, from a desire to benefit the people.

Footnotes and references:


See I, pp. 19 ff and n. 29.


Nirjarā may be either akāma, ‘involuntary,’ or kāma0, ‘voluntary.’


I.e., modifications of karma.


See I, p. 203 and n. 255.


See I, n. 255.

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